GPs and other professionals

About cluttering

Are you a GP or other professional wanting to know more about cluttering?

Get information here.


Cluttering is the term used to describe a speech pattern that is perceived as being too fast, too irregular or jerky, or both, and is accompanied by:

  • excessive repetition of whole words or phrases so that conversation becomes hard to follow
  • inconsistent deletion of syllables in a word, especially longer words (i.e. “puter” for “computer”), not associated with phonological processes
  • pauses in unusual places
  • unusual rhythm and syllable stress
  • words that are blurred together (i.e. “incredible” = “incrible”)

Other features which add to an impression that speech is cluttered are:

  • disorganised expressive language
  • other speech sound or language errors
  • little or no awareness of difficulty (a young person may be aware that people often tell them to slow down or not mumble, but they do not understand why people say this)

People who clutter may also have:

  • messy handwriting
  • learning difficulties not related to intelligence
  • difficulties with attention
  • auditory perceptual difficulties

People who clutter typically have reduced intelligibility. On referral people will be described as speaking too quickly or being difficult to understand.


  • often co-exists with stammering (an estimated 1/3 of people who stammer also have features of cluttering, Ward, 2006)
  • less is known about cause and treatment effectiveness
  • genetic factors are possibly involved, as with stammering
  • underlying language disorganisation or speech regulation difficulty possibly involved
  • more common in males than females
  • may co-occur with ASD, Tourettes, Learning Disabilities but not all individuals who clutter have associated difficulties

What to do

  • refer to local speech and language therapy, or the MPC if the client / parents are concerned
GPs and other professionals

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“I gained a fantastic grounding in CBT and the interweaving with other therapeutic tools and ways of working with all clients. I came to develop my CBT skills with a voice caseload. Although the course relates to stammering I can see that the skills and knowledge are easily transferable to my caseload.”

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